John Harvey Photo

Hong Kong 3Go to Slide Show

Spending time in the big city


This is my third major trip to Hong Kong (see my first trip to Hong Kong and the second trip) and there is no shortage of things left to see.  I plan on returning to Hong Kong in a few months so I specifically tried to avoid a few highlights (the Peak, Tai O) and much of my time was spent with "the girls" shopping so I tried to find new details in things I have seen before.

View Of Central

Zooming Tram
Hong Kong is an amazing mix of new and old.  Old residential buildings stand next to new commercial towers.  Wooden Trolleys share street space with European double deck buses and no end of high end cars.  For a photographer, there means no end of choice, but in some ways that choice leads to more challenge, not less.


Air Conditioners On Green BuildingInter Building Street Market
First for me is the buildings.   Hong Kong is a forest of towers, some tiny, some massive.  The condition of the exterior varies building to building.

Apartment Block Across The Alley


I have alwasys been a market nut.  Markets can be found all over Hong Kong - some specialized, some general. 

Bright Spot In MarketDried BarracudaDucks Pre Roasting


Produce markets are by far the most common, but they are far from equal.  Markets tend to reflect their neighborhoods and if you are watching products (what are they selling) and the prices you can sometimes tease out more detail about the neighborhood you are standing in.


  PomellosTen Dollars For Five ApplesLots Of GreensPlated Fruits


Food vendors are the second most common type of market.  It used to be that much of Hong Kong's food was sold out of mobile stands (Hawking) but much of that culture is now gone as regulatons have forced food vendors into real estate with proper plumbing and electricity. 

Roasting ChestnutsGrilling SquidSkewered Meat


The food itself is something to see being made.  While fish balls are a common item, there is a quality/price hierarchy and the best fish ball stands have long line ups while a stand a few doors down has a hard time attracting customers.

Rice Pots CookingSpicy Fish Balls On AStick

This time of the year is known for "hairy crab" or more properly Chinese Mitten Crab.  This freshwater/salt water crab has a fall season and stalls are filled with them.  Crabs are sold by weight and the price per mass increases with the size of the crab. 
 
Crabs ShackTied Up Fresh Water Crabs
We picked up a bag full of crabs (2 good sized crabs per person + a half dozen extra for hungry people) and had a crab night.  These aren't easy animals to eat - lots of small spaces where meat hides.  The results of dinner is a big mess of shells.

Cooked CrabDestroyed Crabs

Cases To The StreetOrange And Green Citrus
This trip we took another wander over to the fruit market.  The Fruit market is an early morning afair and I've never been up early enough to see it actually go.  There are a few vendors open at 10am when we wandered through, and we were quite surprised to find durrian (generally out of season by now) and figs (not really a local thing). 

Cases Of Bananas

The Bird Market Revisited
 
 Looking Up At Cage

The bird market is a combination of market and park - a place to buy birds and supplies but also a place to go for a stroll with your bird.  The bird market is only a few blocks from Helen's grandparents house so it's pretty easy to walk by and take some photos.  It's busy every day, but Saturday brings more birds and their keepers.  My favorite part is when owners bring their cages to be cleaned.  They put the bird in a "bird bath" cage for the bird to clean itself while the owner scrubs the cage.  Nice use of shared resources.

Bird Washing Itself

There are a number of birds specialized stores here selling all sorts of items.  The inventory of birds definitely moves and it's not uncommon to see a cage full of birds that have just fledged.

Cage With Bird Hanging In TreesCages Hanging In TreesCockatiels On Basket

Row Of CagesYellow Birds In Cage

The owners of the birds are almost as interesting as the birds.  These are geeks, just like computer geeks - they have their own manners and you can clearly see the hierarchy of people at the market - newbie to expert.

Man With Bird CageMan With Two Covered CagesShrouded Cage

Next To AWall Of CagesLooking At Two Birds

The Gold Fish Market Revisited

Variety Of Lights Behind Fish
Even closer to Helen's Grandparents is the Gold Fish Market.  This market is a high volume area - thousands of fish are sold every night.  Fish are bagged for sale and displayed on mass.

Picking Fish Out Of Tanks


This market is crowded and you don't get to really study the fish unless you push up to wall and really inspect them.  I suspect Costco has a rule where they won't sell anything smaller than five dollars - they just make the package larger until it crosses the threashold.  I suspect the same thing happens in this market - cheap fish are bundled into larger and more crowded bags.

Bags Of FishBags Of Super Bright FishBright Orange Fish

Hiking the Dragon's Back

Some Light Green FernCreeping Vines

Hiking is exactly what you think of when you think of Hong Kong, but there is actually a lot of hiking available.  On Hong Kong Island there is a trail from the peak down to Shek O (a nice beach) that is about 80km long.  On the plus side, it's quite well signed and many sections of it are accessible by bus.  With a minimum amount of prodding (there is good fish after the hiking) we decided to go for a walk.


Walking Down The Dragons Back
The first hour or so of the hike is in new growth forest.  The trails are wide and well maintained and everything is drying.    You get little glimpses of vistas, but you are mostly closed in (and thankfully) away from the sun.  Eventually you come to a fork in the trail and start hiking up.  Very quickly you find yourself out of the woods in hiking along the ridge known as the "Dragon's Back".  It wasn't crowded, but we did see other hiking partys come through.  Minor peaks have rest benches (it does get warm out) and the major peaks have signs pointing out landmarks.  It's a nice break from the massive city you just came from.


View From Dragon Back



Helen With AViewLooking Down Valley To Golf Course Standing At Lookout


 
 
 
Macau

Macau is the second closest "country" to Hong Kong after China.  Like Hong Kong, it's also a "Special Administrative region" with it's own laws, education system and border controls.   It's about a 45 minute fast ferry (hydrofoil) ride away from Hong Kong but in some ways you are entering a different world.
 
Folding Metal Door
Our first stop was Rua a Felicidade (happiness street from when it was a red light district).  Places like this in Hong Kong (2 story old buildings) have generally been bulldozed, but the development pressure isn't as intense in Macau.

Small Shrine On WallRed Door Alley

Plants Growing Out Of BuildingAlley Shrine

Take a few steps off the polished street and you enter a maze of smaller streets where the facades are many years from being proud.  Real people live here and walking down the alley you can often hear the sound of Mahjong tiles being "washed" as a new hand is being dealt.

Old Painted Alley

Almond Cookies
Lunch was similar to what you would have in Hong Kong (fresh seafood and rice) there were a few Portuguese influences.  Almond cookies are popular (with the tourists) and most shops will let you eat mis formed cookies as sample for buying the real thing.   Apparently the gold star local food is the Macau egg tart.  The Hong Kong variety has a pastry crust that is more like a pie or a butter tart.  The Macau version is more like a croissant and the filling is browned from the cooking.  Both are excellent.

Macau Egg Tarts

Big Yellow ChurchRuined Church

If you only do one thing if you visit Macau, you go to the Casino's.  If you do two things, you also visit the Largo do Senado.  This "traditional" Portuguese street is lined with heritage buildings and winds it way up to Såo Paulo.   The hard part to get over is that those buildings are filled with retail (like starbucks) that is also there for the tourists.

Portuguese Style Road

Buddhist Temple Church And Casino
When we got to the top, I got a nice summary of the situation -  a tiny temple with the ruined church behind it and one of the larger casinos (Lisboa) further on.  It's a nice succinct timeline of the SAR.


Walk back down the road and you notice this place gets busier and busier as the day ages.

Street At Sunset
A-Ma Temple

Temple At Sunset
South of the main tourist drag is the A-Ma temple complex.   This temple was built to pay respect to the spirit of a girl who saved/saves sailors at sea.  Apparently this is the oldest place of worship in Macau and due to a translation error, it's what Macau was named after.

AMa TempleIncense Burner In Front Of Temple

There are common elements here to what you expect to see in other temples in Southern China.  The spiral incense burns for up to a month at a time and each coil is generally left by a different visitor to the temple.  New to me was a money dish (filled with water) that accepts more "liquid" offerings.

Money Dish And IncenseBurning CoilCoils Hanging From Ceiling

Bamboo Inscribed
We climbed up toward one of the higher temples and I noticed this thicket of bamboo growing.  Every stem had words written on it.  No idea if that was the intention of planting it, but it was a nice record of visitors.

Written On Bamboo

Cheung Chau Island

Promenade Side Restaurant
Hong Kong has a number of "outlying" island.  Most are just rocks sticking out of the sea, some are single purpose locations (for prisons and drug treatment centers) and a few are islands with communities living on them.  They generally have restaurants serving fresh seafood, a nice beach or two and some good hiking trails to see the place.  This trip we decided to visit Cheung Chau Island.


Fish Drying In Sun
The market on Cheung Chau is mostly targeting the seafood industry.  Not counting the restaurants lining the water front, lots of dried fish is available in several forms.  Cheung Chau is know for it's "bun festival" in late April/early May and you can buy the buns year round in some of the shops.  Some have lotus paste, others red bean - I'm not sure what "flavor" is used for the festival.

Traditional Buns
Incense Burning
We went for a little walk to take in some of the sights of the island.   It was a really warm day so we didn't got too far.  One stop was the Kwum Yam Wan temple - a small temple with view of the beach.  This temple obviously has strong supports because it is kept clean and has high quality facilities. 

Top Of Incense Burner

Kite Surfer Practicing
We continued our walk around until we found a lookout to sit and watch the bay.  Kite surfers were out riding across the harbour and rental kayaks were doing there best to fight their way against the wind.  It was a wonderful day to sit and watch the world go by.

Vase Rock Looking To Lamma IslandLooking Towards Cheung Chau

Back on a ferry and 45 minutes later you are back in central!
 
Hong Kong Wetlands Park

On my first visit to Hong Kong I visited the Mai Po Marshes at the northern most extent of Hong Kong.  It's difficult to visit that park because it's substantially outside of the security perimeter of Hong Kong and unless you visit on a special day, you aren't allowed beyond the security perimeter.  (It's funny how often "security" makes for good parks). 

Walking On Boardwalk

Like Mai Po, there is a float section with a view of the mud flats around the mangroves.  On the mud you can see a circus of mud skippers going about their daily lives.  These things must taste really bad because if we had fish like this in Canada, they would be eaten in about 10 seconds.

Floating BridgeMudskipper

Kids In A Blind
There are a number of bird blinds looking onto bodies of water.  This are little shelters that make humans not so conspicuous while watching wildlife.  There are generally boards over the front of it and you get to look through the missing boards at the wildlife.  Because its dark in the shelter, it's supposed to be hard for the wildlife to see you.  That said, birds aren't idiots and they certainly can hear you in this big box.  These shelters are nice - lots of bird guides and some even had spotting scopes set up.  I was quite happy to see school groups coming through (and teachers doing there best to keep things in control.  We even saw one high end photographer in taking photos.  The birds weren't close, but they are pretty big and nice to see.



Bird Bar

By now we are nearing the end of our trip and it's time to think about packing up and getting back on a plane.  Thanks again to Helen and her family for hosting and tour guiding.  Much appreciated!



Air Conditioners On Green Building
Tags: building, Hong Kong
Creeping Vines
Tags: dappled light
Kite Surfer Practicing
Altitude: 10m (32 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: beach, Hong Kong, water sports
Orange And Green Citrus
Tags: Hong Kong, market, produce
Tied Up Fresh Water Crabs
Tags: Hong Kong, market, seafood
Shrouded Cage
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Street At Sunset
Tags: Macau, panorama, sunset
Ruined Church
Tags: Macau, place of worship
Variety Of Lights Behind Fish
Tags: fish, Hong Kong, market
Alley Shrine
Tags: alley, Macau, place of worship
Written On Bamboo
Tags: bamboo, graffiti
Some Light Green Fern
Altitude: 204m (669 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: fern, hiking
Old Painted Alley
Tags: alley, Macau
Traditional Buns
Tags: food porn, Hong Kong
Spicy Fish Balls On AStick
Tags: food porn, Hong Kong, seafood, street food
Red Door Alley
Altitude: 4m (13 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: alley, door, Macau
Dried Barracuda
Tags: fish, Hong Kong
Promenade Side Restaurant
Altitude: 12m (39 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong, marina, restaurant
Looking Towards Cheung Chau
Altitude: 35m (114 feet)
Location: Go To...
Looking At Two Birds
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Bird Washing Itself
Tags: bird, Hong Kong
Yellow Birds In Cage
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Plated Fruits
Tags: fruit, Hong Kong, market
Cockatiels On Basket
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Ten Dollars For Five Apples
Tags: fruit, Hong Kong, market
Lots Of Greens
Tags: Hong Kong, market, produce
Floating Bridge
Tags: bridge, Hong Kong
Plants Growing Out Of Building
Altitude: 3m (9 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: building, derelict, Macau
View Of Central
Altitude: 6m (19 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong, panorama, vista
Temple At Sunset
Tags: Macau, place of worship
Portuguese Style Road
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Macau, road
View From Dragon Back
Altitude: 279m (915 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong, panorama
Cases Of Bananas
Tags: Hong Kong, market, produce
Folding Metal Door
Altitude: 8m (26 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: door, Macau
Mudskipper
Species: Boleophthalmus pectinirostris (大彈塗魚)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: fish, Hong Kong, mud
Walking On Boardwalk
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: boardwalk, Hong Kong
Picking Fish Out Of Tanks
Tags: aquarium, fish, Hong Kong, market
Pomellos
Tags: fruit, Hong Kong, market
Zooming Tram
Tags: Hong Kong, motion blur, road
Almond Cookies
Altitude: 53m (173 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: food porn, Macau
Inter Building Street Market
Tags: Hong Kong, market
Small Shrine On Wall
Altitude: 52m (170 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: alley, incense, Macau
Looking Up At Cage
Tags: Hong Kong, market
Skewered Meat
Tags: cooking, Hong Kong, street food
Man With Bird Cage
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Standing At Lookout
Person: Helen, Jennie, Theresa
Altitude: 275m (902 feet)
Location: Go To...
Crabs Shack
Tags: Hong Kong, market, seafood
Bright Spot In Market
Tags: dappled light, Hong Kong, market
Incense Burning
Tags: dragon, Hong Kong, incense, incense burner, place of worship
Row Of Cages
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market, twin
Ducks Pre Roasting
Tags: Hong Kong
Coils Hanging From Ceiling
Altitude: 54m (177 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: incense, Macau
Big Yellow Church
Tags: Macau, place of worship
Kids In A Blind
Cooked Crab
Tags: Hong Kong, seafood
Cages Hanging In Trees
Tags: bird, Hong Kong
Bags Of Super Bright Fish
Tags: fish, Hong Kong, market
Macau Egg Tarts
Tags: food porn, Macau
Destroyed Crabs
Helen With AView
Person: Helen
Fish Drying In Sun
Tags: fish, Hong Kong, seafood
Bamboo Inscribed
Altitude: 42m (137 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bamboo, graffiti
Apartment Block Across The Alley
Tags: building, Hong Kong
Roasting Chestnuts
Tags: cooking, Hong Kong, roast chestnut, street food
Rice Pots Cooking
Tags: cooking, Hong Kong
Walking Down The Dragons Back
Tags: hiking, Hong Kong
Man With Two Covered Cages
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Buddhist Temple Church And Casino
Altitude: 37m (121 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Macau, place of worship
Bird Bar
Species: Ardea cinerea (Grey Heron), Phalacrocorax carbo (Great Cormorant)
Altitude: 5m (16 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bird, Hong Kong
AMa Temple
Tags: Macau, place of worship
Grilling Squid
Tags: cooking, Hong Kong, street food
Burning Coil
Altitude: 42m (137 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: incense, Macau
Cases To The Street
Tags: Hong Kong, market, produce
Looking Down Valley To Golf Course
Tags: Hong Kong, vista
Vase Rock Looking To Lamma Island
Altitude: 34m (111 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: Hong Kong, vista
Top Of Incense Burner
Tags: architectural decoration, dragon, Hong Kong, incense burner, place of worship
Money Dish And Incense
Tags: incense burner, Macau, place of worship
Next To AWall Of Cages
Tags: bird, Hong Kong, market
Incense Burner In Front Of Temple
Altitude: 54m (177 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: incense burner, Macau, place of worship
Bright Orange Fish
Tags: fish, Hong Kong, market
Cage With Bird Hanging In Trees
Tags: bird, Hong Kong
Bags Of Fish
Tags: fish, Hong Kong, market
Tags: Hong Kong(54), market(25), Macau(19), bird(12), place of worship(10), fish(8)
People: Helen(2), Jennie(1), Theresa(1)
From: John Harvey Photo > Hong Kong 3
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > Hong Kong 3

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Last Modified Tuesday, June 9th, 2009 at 01:36:03 Edit
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